Will Wicherski ’15 and I met at some point last spring but only first hung out during the two weeks of perfect weather right before finals. Wicherski was in his element, vibing out to good music while playing lawn games in the bright sun. It took me some time to realize that this chill California-type is also a total weapon who dominates on the nordic ski circuit. I met up with the history and geoscience major in the Clark Geoscience CES lab where he was messing around with some topographical maps of ski trails
What are you currently working on?
I’m doing my ’99, which is finding out if I can bring the trails at Prospect [Mountain Nordic Ski Center] up to international standards. All the other colleges have internationally certified courses and we don’t.
I think that a lot of people, when they first meet you, think you’re from California or something because you have that West Coast vibe and West Coast hair. Can you talk about the places you call home?
I grew up in Boise, graduated high school a year early to have some fun, get away from my parents, and I just skied in Norway for a year. It was super fun, but now it’s nice to be back. I was [in Norway] last semester as well – it was a lot of fun, too, but just in a different way because I was going to college there. But yeah, I guess right now it’s kind of tough because I’m only home for one and a half to two weeks out of every year, so it’s hard to say that Boise is my home right now. In the summers I usually live in Sun Valley, which is in Idaho too. Williams is the place I spend most of my time through the year so I guess it’s, you know, my home away from home.
You said you’re glad to be back in America after time in Norway –what made you miss this place?
I, just … bagels and Dr. Pepper.
I don’t know, there are just some things that you just can’t get in Europe … I just missed school here and I missed all my friends who’re here. I missed school because over there at the university, there’s just not much going on in terms of academics. I also just missed the sun too, because the sun was only up for four or five hours a day. And then when I lived over there in my year abroad, it didn’t even come up for six weeks out of the year.
It would get dusky out – there would be a four hour sunrise or sunset but you didn’t know which one it was. But I definitely miss the sun, just getting energy and good vibes from the sun. It’s just essential. Scandinavian summer, though, is pretty powerful stuff. Super powerful.
Speaking of good vibes, your tagline of sorts last spring was “Mahalo Chilliams.” What was the inspiration behind the motto?
The one thing I do remember was freshman year I saw this kid in Paresky wearing a Hawaiian print shirt, a Margaritaville-type deal. And I asked him what it was like to live on island time and then he said, “Um, I live on Eastern Standard Time.” Not really the answer I was looking for.
You have quite a few Hawaiian shirts, too, don’t you?
I do. Mainly because I do 80 percent of my shopping at thrift stores. So usually I just buy the party shirts every time I go to the thrift store. Live in party shirts mostly.
And the other 20 percent is Wu-Tang apparel?
[Laughs.] I do have a few Wu-Tang shirts but I don’t buy stuff from their store ‘cause my friend got robbed from the Wu-Tang store one time. He was going to buy a pair of Wu-Tang shoes, and he sent them $80 or whatever they cost and they never sent him anything. Classic Wu-Tang. Just robbing dumb white kids from Boise.
What other kinds of music are you in to?
I listen to a lot of different stuff. Usually when I’m studying I just cruise on SoundCloud and listen to beats. I also got pretty into bluegrass in the last couple of years. I like to buy alternative rock stuff when I’m in record stores but there aren’t really any good ones in Williamstown. So I just cruise the Internet. Check out the beat scene, underground hip-hop scene.
I feel like the common theme these last eight-and-a-half minutes or so has been, like, cruising. SoundCloud, vibes and skiing and what not. You did cruise a lot on your tandem bike last spring.
I do like to cruise. I did cruise a lot on that tandem bike last spring.
I feel like it became a thing on campus; everyone started asking where they could get a tandem bike too.
I picked up a lot of people on that bike. Just cruised around campus. That was when it was that stretch of two-week paradise in Williamstown. That was probably where I figured out the “Mahalo Chilliamstown” scenario. Last May, or the end of April and beginning of May. Two weeks of just no clouds in the sky, ever.
That was a good stretch.
Dude, I don’t know if it’ll happen again. It was kind of magical when it was happening. Just the day party, warm weather, tandem bikes, Currier Quad lawn games, Currier Quad couch village [Laughs.] The factors just came together that year, and I don’t know if they’ll come together again.
One can only hope. Any absurd stories from Norway or ski season thus far?
I was in a ski race in Norway and I was skiing behind a kid on a downhill and he just started puking, and we were going pretty fast that it almost came back and hit me. And the worst part was that every single lap after that everyone had to ski through the puke and it slowed everyone’s skis down so much – just this vile concoction of bile and just, ugh … But the worst part is that that kid beat me in the end.
You’re going back to Norway for spring break, right?
Yeah, the ski team is going to Norway this year. I wasn’t really planning on going back, but it’s our training trip. And Norway in the spring is actually my favorite place. It’s super sunny and they’ve got tons of snow, and the girls are out in their shorts, and the foxes are out… [Laughs.] Yeah it’s super nice. Just lots of skiing and lots of sun. Good times to be had. And everybody’s just so happy after the long, cold, dark winter that they just kind of let loose … it’s so fun. Good vibes.
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